Ten Considerations to avoid problems with Automated Gates

by Super User
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Installing Automated / Electric Gates is a complex process. It not only requires a thorough understanding of the customers requirements, but also a wealth of industry knowledge and strong knowledge and consideration for the safety of the system. The installers have to carry out impact testing on the gate systems, which is not something that can be done without specialist equipment.

There are a number of options for home and business owners in the style and material of gate and the automation type and method of opening. Whether the operators be above or underground, we have listed ten of the most common problems faced during automatic gate installation – These are worth considering before, during and after installation should problems occur.

1) Ensure that the gates will always work without automation

All gates that are automated will need to be operable as a manual gate – Mainly for use in the case of power cut or emergency. Adding automation equipment will not overcome any problems with a gate that was not installed correctly in the first instance.

2) Gates on slopes will nearly always cause problems

It is best to avoid fitting swing gates where the ground runs uphill – It can sometimes be done, but it will complicate the situation, usually require additional equipment and put extra strain on the automation. Where space for a run back allows, it would usually be beneficial to consider a sliding / cantilever gate in this instance.

3) Ensure the automation being used is ‘up to the job’

Make sure that the equipment being installed is strong enough for the weight/size of the gates and for the intesitivity of usage – Always check the specifications laid down by the manufacturer – Failure to do so may result in any warranty being declared void.

4) Underground motors and water

These types of drives are designed to be exactly that – Underground, not underwater. Suitable drainage and soakaway systems must be correctly installed. The manufacturer/installer should be able to provide detailed drawings for the foundations.

5) Professional Installation is a must

It can be tempting, if you are knowledgeable or know someone that is, to purchase discounted automation equipment from companies selling it at close to trade prices direct to end users. The installation of automated equipment by anyone without the correct equipment and underqualified to understand the risks/safety requirements may result in serious accidents for which you can be held responsible. Using a professional company, such as Frontline Automation, may cost slightly more than attempting it yourself but you then have the peace of mind that you have someone who will take full responsibility of the installation as well as carrying out a proper risk assessment as required by law.

6) Environmental Conditions

The biggest environmental problem can be the effect of wind on a gate – Although solid or close boarded gates are the most commonly affected, even open-rail or palisade gates will present a degree of wind resistance. It might be surprising to learn this not only affects swing gates, but also sliding / cantilever gates. 24V systems are the favoured option because of the advanced safety, but these may struggle to be powerful enough to operate fully in extremely windy conditions.

7) How are the gates being controlled by the owner?

Typical choices for the operation of automated systems include: Radio Transmitters, Keypads, Token Access, Push Buttons, Ground Loops, and Mobile Phone (GSM) Systems. Operation of the gates will need to be from inside and outside the property, and it is worth considering who will need to gain access and why – Important questions are whether people will want to leave the car, or weather a car mounted transmitter may be beneficial.

8) Access for Pedestrians/Visitors

If there is not a suitable alternative, a seperate pedestrian gate would usually be installed for those on foot. Users without a remote/keypad code will need a way to get in touch with people in the property so as to make their presence known. Usually an intercom would be the option of choice, whether that be wired, wireless or through a GSM system. Push buttons can of course also provide an option.

9) What about Trade Access?

Services such as postmen, delivery drivers, milkmen need to be able to access the property, and it is unlikely you would want to hand out transmitters or keypad codes. Access for trades would usually be provided by the installation of a push button attached to a time clock, meaning it would only work within certain timeframes. The gates can also be held open for a certain period of time, for example, between 7am & 10am.

10) Are self-locking motors enough to hold the gates shut?

It isn’t advisable to rely solely on a ‘locking’ operator to provide total security. Where security is paramount, the addition of extra locks will make forcing of the gate system much more difficult – In extreme high security sites, rising or collapsible bollards can be installed in front of and/or behind the gate for added security. A sliding gate will provide more security than swing gates against vehicle ‘ramming’

For Further information, please contact Frontline Automation on 01444 248292.